NASAA 2023 Learning Series: Speakers and Facilitators

Learn more about the NASAA 2023 Learning Series.

Retaining Public-Sector Employees

Rivka Liss-Levinson, Ph.D.
Senior Research Manager
MissionSquare Research Institute

Dr. Rivka Liss-Levinson is senior research manager at MissionSquare Research Institute. With 15 years of experience designing, implementing, reporting and disseminating rigorous, practitioner-oriented research, she is dedicated to leveraging data and stories to improve the health and well-being of public-sector workers and others who serve their communities. Prior to joining the Research Institute in 2018, Dr. Liss-Levinson worked as director of survey research for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, where she led the full life cycle of the preeminent national survey of the status of state and territorial public health in the United States. She has also worked at the Emory University/Cornell University Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, collaborating with partners from the private and public sectors to research and evaluate workplace wellness programs. Dr. Liss-Levinson’s work has been covered by Forbes, CNBC and The Washington Post, and she has written multiple columns for Route Fifty. She has coauthored peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, is a frequent presenter at national conferences, and serves on committees for several public service and public health organizations. Dr. Liss-Levinson holds a doctorate in applied social psychology from The George Washington University and a B.A. in psychology from Brandeis.


Hyunkang Hur
Associate Professor of Public Management
Public Administration and Health Management Program, School of Business at Indiana University Kokomo

Hyunkang Hur is an associate professor of public management in the Public Administration and Health Management program, School of Business, at Indiana University Kokomo. Dr. Hur’s research interests are public management, human resource management, organizational behavior, public employee work attitudes and behavior, work motivation, job security, turnover intention, quantitative research methods, and meta-analysis.

Gordon Abner
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin

Gordon Abner is an assistant professor of public affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Abner’s research interests include employee turnover, commitment and engagement, as well as leadership development in the public sector. His research has appeared in academic research outlets such as Public Administration Review, the Review of Public Personnel Administration, and Public Performance & Management Review.

Managing Burnout in the Public Sector

Dori Kelner, M.S., M.B.S.R., C.W.M.F.
Workplace Well-being Facilitator/Mindfulness Teacher
Insightful Culture LLC;

Vice President, Human Workplace
Esteemed Inc.

Dori Kelner serves as a senior advisor and mentor in the corporate, government and nonprofit spaces. She designs and facilitates leadership and well-being programs for executives, managers and individuals. Kelner is a mindfulness based stress reduction teacher and a certified workplace mindfulness facilitator who regularly speaks at conferences and conducts workshops on topics of leadership and wellness, focusing on stress reduction, personal growth, career development and the human workplace.

Remediating Pandemic Learning Loss and the Arts

Stacie Sanders Evans
President & CEO
Arts for Learning Maryland

Stacie Sanders Evans has devoted her career to young people and creating opportunities for them to find their voice, understand their power, and use their voice and power to realize what is possible for them and for the world. Her strength and passion are creating strong teams and leading a results based management approach centered in equity. Evans’s focus for the past 18 years has been building Arts for Learning Maryland (formerly Young Audiences of Maryland) into a driving force for arts education that is transforming the lives of Maryland youth by connecting educators, professional artists and communities. In that time, she built the organization from a small, four-person operation into a staff of more than 40 people, with a tenfold increase in budget and a network of more than 200 artists, that directly serves nearly 180,000 children every year. The opportunity to create, understand and express who she was as an individual was the foundation for Evans’s growth as a young person, from attending a performing-arts high school to studying dance in Ghana in college. She is passionate about creating similar opportunities for children, particularly for students who are not being well served by the traditional education system.


Carlos Jamieson
Policy Researcher
Education Commission of the States

As a policy researcher at the Education Commission of the States, Carlos Jamieson focuses on many issues related to K-12 education. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Jamieson was an elementary school physical education and health teacher. He earned a master’s degree in physical education from Teacher’s College and is currently pursuing his Ed.D. at Howard University in education leadership and policy.

Jamie Kasper
Arts Education Partnership

Photo by Ellen Jaskol

As director of the Arts Education Partnership, Jamie Kasper works with over 100 partner organizations to support arts learning across the United States. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Kasper worked for Arts Education Collaborative in Pittsburgh and was previously the state arts curriculum advisor at the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Kasper is an active musician who spends time on the weekends rehearsing or performing with various groups.


Kimberly Washburn Motte
Arts Learning Director
South Carolina Arts Commission

Kimberly Washburn Motte is the arts learning director for the South Carolina Arts Commission. With a background in museum education and as a certified visual arts teacher, her passion for education in and through the arts drives her work for statewide equitable access to arts learning opportunities across the age spectrum. Motte received her B.S. in art education from Francis Marion University. She is the 2017 recipient of the Florence Regional Arts Alliance’s Gregory Fry Arts Educator Award and the 2021 South Carolina Art Education Association Museum Educator of the Year.

Making a Strong Case for the Arts

Michael Lange
Executive Director
Wyoming Arts Council

Michael Lange is the executive director of the Wyoming Arts Council, helping to strengthen Wyoming communities by using the arts as a vehicle for positive change. Prior to serving as executive director, Lange was the community development specialist for the Arts Council. He previously worked for the University of Wyoming, where he used the arts as a catalyst for cocurricular student development initiatives. Lange is a trustee for the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). His research interests are centered on exploring and creating structures and atmospheres that promote creativity. Lange is the recipient of the 2017 Northwest College Alumnus of the Year. He is a musician and composer, performing mostly in the jazz idiom, and holds a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in public administration.


Miah Michaelsen
Executive Director
Indiana Arts Commission

Miah Michaelsen is the executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC), previously serving as the agency’s deputy director of operations for six years. Before joining IAC, Michaelsen served as the first assistant economic development director for the arts for the City of Bloomington. In that role, she developed and implemented all aspects of programming and services offered to the creative sector by the City of Bloomington and its state-designated cultural district. She served in executive director roles for the Bloomington Area Arts Council, the Children’s Hands on Museum in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Kentucky Art Center and Festival in Northport, Alabama. Michaelsen has served on panels including the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Arts Council of Indianapolis, and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. She is a graduate of Hendrix College (Conway, Arkansas) with a B.A. with distinction in theatre and serves on its board of governors.


David Schmitz
Iowa Arts Council

David Schmitz has served as administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, Iowa’s state arts agency and a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, since 2020. Schmitz previously worked for the Iowa Arts Council as a community resources specialist and managed programs supporting the development of community arts, cultural infrastructure and public art. He has more than 15 years of experience in arts administration and museums and has held roles with the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the Des Moines Art Center. Most recently, Schmitz served as executive director of the Dubuque Museum of Art. He is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Columbia College Chicago and the Getty Leadership Institute.

Untapped Opportunity: Older Americans & the Arts

Jen Benoit-Bryan
Slover Linett Audience Research

Jen Benoit-Bryan is the president of Slover Linett Audience Research, a firm that uses the tools of research and evaluation to help the cultural sector understand its participants and communities, experiment with new strategies for engagement, and connect more deeply. Over the past few years, she’s been the principal investigator for the national Culture & Community research series—a  special edition of Culture Track, one of the largest studies of cultural behavior conducted in the United States. While at Slover Linett, Jen has worked with a variety of clients across the cultural sector including the National Academy of Sciences, Museums Moving Forward, Central Park Conservancy, the Kennedy Center, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the High Line and SFMOMA. Jen holds a Ph.D. in public administration specializing in research methodology.